Legalized online poker in Delaware doesn’t seem to be getting the media attention that it is getting in Nevada and New Jersey, but the Delaware Lottery Director has already announced that Delaware will launch its first licensed online poker room on Halloween Day.
Vernon Kirk, the lottery director for Delaware, says that Delaware’s move to launch online poker products has made Nevada eager to sign an interstate online poker compact with it. Nevada had launched its first online poker room, Ultimate Poker, in April.
Delaware is one of the most sparsely populated states in the US. Although it has legalized online gambling, it has very few casinos. In August, the state launched online casinos for free play.
When Brian Pempus of Card Player asked Kirk about the state’s preparations for the launch of online poker, he said that the state has been finding it to be challenging. He said: “It is a pretty big technological challenge and our schedule has been pretty aggressive. There are just a lot of moving pieces to this.”
Regarding the free online casino games that were launched in August, Kirk said that they have attracted a lot of attention, adding that their purpose was to create a market database, not to be a learning experience. He also said that the state is not yet sure if it wants to continue offering free casino games after launching its real money online gambling sites.
Kirk said that poker will be one of the games that will be made available for real money on Halloween Day. Besides, real money casino games such as slots and video poker will also be made available. He said, “We are kind of restricted right now because of the integration piece to our service provider, which is 888 Holdings. So we are restricted to those games for launch. They are working with other game content providers for integration, but it will still be awhile.”
Speaking about the role of Scientific Games, he said that 888 will provide the software platform required for the gambling sites, but Scientific Games will be the primary vender for Delaware’s online gambling industry. Scientific Games will take care of the payment processing, player identification, and geo-location.
When asked if Delaware is planning to partner with Nevada and New Jersey to increase liquidity, Kirk said that the state has already discussed this issue with both states, but it is too early to sign any compact.